A home movie experience wouldn’t be complete without tasty treats. Gone are the days when you have to snack on microwave popcorn, soggy and dry leftover pizza, or stale potato chips. The aroma of fresh, buttery popcorn, the sight of rolling, juicy hot dogs, fluffy cotton candy spun right before your eyes – whether you want to create an authentic cinema feel right in your home theater or throw a carnival-style party, home concession stands are a huge hit.
Before you cook hot dogs or pop kernels at home, here are some things to consider when buying concession equipment.
Hot Dogs: Grill or Steam?
Hot dog machines are available in a variety of sizes, all designed with ease of operation, safety, and efficiency in mind. Two popular cooking methods use the hot dog machines below:
Hot Dog Steamer
- Average cooking time is 25-30 minutes
- Steam helps hot dogs and buns stay fresh and soft
- You can use water, broth, or even beer to steam the dogs
- Steam buns during the last 2-3 minutes of steaming the hot dogs
- A high-quality steamer can hold up to 160 hot dogs and 36 buns
- The enclosed design of a hot dog steamer keeps food at consistent temperature
- Hot dogs should steam until they reach an internal temperature of 63 degrees, otherwise they will shrivel or turn grey
- Hot dog steamers’ general electrical requirements are 120 Volts, 1200 Watts, 10 Amps
- Average cooking time is 10-20 minutes
- Roller grills come in a variety of sizes. Depending on what you need, roller grills can have the capacity of 10-30 (or even more) hot dogs.
- Each roller is powered by high-torque motor with 360° rotation for even cooking and temperature
- The hot dogs are placed on the slowly-rotating heated rollers for them to be cooked evenly. Once they are done cooking, the temperature can be adjusted to keep them warm and fresh
- Most roller grills have built-in bun warmers
- Roller grills’ general electrical requirements are 120 Volts, 1100 Watts, 10 Amps
The kettle size determines the amount of popcorn produced in one cooking cycle. The smallest machines have a 4-ounce kettle (ideal for home use) and the biggest can go up to 30 ounces. Each ounce of kernels makes about 2 pounds of popcorn – which is the usual serving size for one person.
With an 8-ounce kettle and an average popping time of 3-4 minutes, you’ll be able to make about 147 ounces of delicious popcorn in an hour. The kettles are removable, which allows for easy cleaning.
The higher the wattage, the quicker the cooking time and the more power the machine draws. If you want faster cooking, look for machines that use at least 860 watts. If cooking time is not issue, popcorn machines with 480 or 640 watts should be good.
You should consider your available room before choosing a popcorn machine. If you have the counter space, you can put your popcorn machine on any flat, sturdy surface. If you don’t have the counter space, you can place your machine on a carnival-style popcorn cart or stand. Making it mobile with a rolling, street vendor-themed cart is a good idea if you want to move it from one place to another.